AROS (A River of Stones) for Nov 1

I sit before a large painting I am ready to trash to fret about my feelings towards it. Soon I am slapping paint all over the canvas.

___

 brendaclews.com
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Stone #80

Into my Bengali spice tea of cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, chicory, carob, black pepper, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg, I add blackcurrant. Ahh.
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whaleskin






whaleskin, 2011, 20cm x 25.5cm, 8" x 10", India ink, graphite, watercolour pencils, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4. (Click on the images for a larger size.)



Anchored in my mind all day, a koan. What in death does not die? I brush a wash of India ink onto paper. Ground burnt bones thickened with resins. Words in the wet wave. Words in the black tusk of the whale whose skin swims with algae, barnacles, skeletal memories of cattle, the backbones of live fish in the orange sunset that beaches the creature like a hammerhead of knuckles. The creatures of the world fight for their lives. In the mass extinction. In the radioactive orange water into which the sun has fallen. The salty sludge-lined ocean, layers of plastic bags hugging the sand, shopping for the moment.

It was a Zen moment.

What in death does not die.


 


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Stone #78

Our tongues fork into each other. The undersides of clouds splatter slithers of rain meandering down the panes.

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Stone #77

out of the continual hum, I grasp my fragmentary words, speaking, momentarily, before they slide into the murmur that is everywhere
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Stone #76

Slow, meticulous cutting of patterns, sewing. Each second is a stitch; each hour a finished seam. Our lives are the garments we wear.
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Stone: #75

In the Annex's wealthiest areas, the streets are empty. No cars, no porch-sitters, no children, no-one out watering their front gardens. My dog and I walk. Unencumbered silence.
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Stone #74: Daphne


Daphne, 20.5cm x 20.5cm, 8" x 8", dip pen with India, acrylic and fountain pen inks, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4. (Click on image for larger size.)

I lay in the park sketching the tree; though invisible to the biological eye, she was there. Neither did the lake exist, nor the rocks. It was sunny and yet I found a sliver of a moon and a star on the paper. The child in me saw her. She is like a paper cut-out, drawn as a child would draw; she is Daphne. Look at her laurel crown. Her arms are turning into branches with leaves. I found her ghostdrawing her myth in the green dreaming imagination of the woman drawing in the book on her lap.

This Daphne is caught, perpetually transforming, as night falls. Apollo, the god of light, long gone. No sign of Cupid's arrow, if it ever flew.

_
According to Greek myth, Apollo chased the nymph Daphne. From Ovid's Metamorphoses:
...a heavy numbness seized her limbs, thin bark closed over her breast, her hair turned into leaves, her arms into branches, her feet so swift a moment ago stuck fast in slow-growing roots, her face was lost in the canopy. Only her shining beauty was left.
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Stone #73

Rain pounding, my sticky heat-riven body wet-soaked, like the laughing people passing by. Water criss-crosses the drought-white grass.

_
The style here a little 50s, I thought. Post-Joycean, hyphenated word pairs.
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Stone #72 (The Dancer with the Full Moon in her Throat (sketch 1))


The Dancer with the Full Moon in her Throat, sketch 1, 2011, 20cm x 28cm, 8" x 11", India, ink, graphite, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4.

Instead of watching a movie, Fellini's 'Satyricon' on the burner waiting, saw it years ago, I drew. Been busy the past few days, and I should sit back, but I don't relax too well. From my Moleskine Sketchbook... hopefully finish in the morning. Or maybe stay up... the full moon needs to go in, I think she is dancing a dance of the full moon, and that means a dark sky, and lots of ink... the full moon is in her throat, I see it now, and in the night sky.

She is reaching for her throat, for the full moon.
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Stone #71

The plum, dark purple skin, pearl yellow flesh, firm, a sharp juice, releases sweetness to the tongue, like swallowing the moon.
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Stone #70

Wherever I am touched, light summer dress, underwear, couch, skin on skin behind knees, head under braided hair, I sweat.
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Stone #69

The species will come to an end; perhaps she is the last radioactive woman

(today's frenzied drawing)
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Stone #68

The sky has too many blue patches where the sun shines through for the promised thunderstorm to drench and cool. We wait, wilt.
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Stone #67

I stare at Inca stonework. We carve away at sections of ourselves, until we fit, until you couldn't drag a knife through us.
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Stone #66

Like a nymphaea, a water lily, lazing on the thick surface of river water in this heat wave of fan wind blowing across my skin.
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Stone #65

On my walk tonight I saw men flying sideways through the air in overcoats and bowler hats, graphite pencils gnawing on their shin bones.

_

(I did! But they emerged from 'The Master and Margarita,' a Russian masterpiece by Bulgakov that I am listening to as an audiobook, an image in his book that became a sort of Magritte drawing-in-process in the sky, though a little more demented than Magritte ever was. :)
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Stone #64

Her foot in a cast, they take the streetcar. They don't reach the door in time for their stop. The crowded streetcar continues on.
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Stone #63

Today I lay under a tree laden with seeds, her arms of wood nurturing sun and rain, her roots, the earth. Her leaves shaking like hair in the breeze.

I lay under a mother tree.
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Stone #62

Baking in a humid heat wave with a 425° oven in a small apartment is trashed; instead, we politely eat tea-dipped store-bought donuts.
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Stone #61 -a short video of my patio oasis in the city


direct link: Spit of a Backyard Spills Bliss

My meditation today was cleaning my little patio - raking, scraping caked leaves and dirt, sweeping and dragging the paper garden recycling bag that I had filled to the curb. In between I sat back and contemplated the green ash, enjoyed my dog, and, after finishing the clean-up, gazed at the canopy of leaves above me for uninterrupted hours.

_
A spit of a backyard spills bliss into hours, yes it does.

Especially during a heat wave - 32°C/90°F and a humidex of 38, which doesn't describe the vapour pressure and inferno of heat Toronto was today.

A little bit of earth, connected to my apartment by a short walk, can offer lovely rest and contentment on a hot summer's day. A nice place to serve tea and cake to family and friends. Or to write, and I did get some writing that's been hard to do done this afternoon! Last year I put a hammock up, but rarely used it, so this year it's the chaise longe for resting, contemplating. My oasis in the city, and we do all need our oases.

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Stone #60

In my fluid relationships, every incarnation of love in my life remains with me and carries me to the next wave, the next immersion.
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Stone #59

The fishbowl pushes the air aside. Fish hide in plants that grow underwater. Dart. Slowly slide backwards to the edge of the glass, and watch with one blue eye.
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Stone #58

A new country was birthed in the world today. / My day of mundane tasks / the jubilation of the peoples of South Sudan.
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Stone #57

In my bedroom curtain, that I was sewing, a small dead fly fell out. Deep teal sheen under wings of sheer grey symmetry, vacant gaze of compound eye.
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Stone #56

Tonight I dug out of storage and heaved upstairs 30 years of private journals: these are my stones tonight.
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Stone #55

The hum of fans all over my apartment busily spinning hot air. 
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Stone #54

My green ash is hermaphroditic and functionally female, knobby brown flower clusters, bunches of seed pods, a Niun among maples and cedars.
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Stone #53

A old frock, barefoot, every inch of warm summer air welcoming to the skin which sinks into it; in the warmth, I am innerly pliable.
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Stone #52

Note on street over potted plant that is later gone-

free to a good home

a cedar where birdsong can one day take shelter

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Stone #51: Canada Day

A crackling dark: sleek streamers of light, flashing strobe-lit exploding jellyfish, flying thunderbolts, fountains of neon flowers.
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July 'River of Stones'



Lots of people are joining, about to toss pebbles of poetry --- haiku-like moments of noticing, meditating, writing --- into the river. You should too:
Why you should join the river: Because having a notebook, or a blog, and a vow to write one small stone in it each day can help you keep a sense of wonder about the world. Deciding to take part in the July challenge, to notice something each day and write about it, sets in motion that willingness to reach out - that willingness to really look and listen to the world - and to stand in awe.
On the black river,
a pair of great-crested grebe nod
towards the ceremonies of spring.

Kate Noakes

Kaspalita Thompson and Fiona Robyn, beautiful, newly-wedded couple, are the inspirations behind River of Stones.


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Stone #50: Is Rosette's

After the rain, roses everywhere, their thorn-bitten thick lips, petals falling like tricks, lipstick red pistils around their bushes.

(a wee note to myself, if you ever want to see them, just email me for the key)
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Terre Verte

Pale green stretch lace, shimmer of embroidery, like Japanese watercolours catching the spring sun through pale green trees.

-
A Wedding Stone for Fiona and Kaspa's nuptials today.

Note: Besides 'Green Earth,' Terre Verte is a painter's paint colour.
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Wedding Small Stones

The Festival of the Trees -60 took over my blog on June 1st, and what a fine festival! Luckily, it's not too late to post this call to participate in a wedding on the River of Stones by adding your own small stone to the celebrations.

Kaspa and Fiona are both on a mission to help the world connect with the world through writing. They are also getting married on Saturday the 18th of June.



For their fantasy wedding present, they are asking people across the world to write them a ‘small stone’ and send it using this form. You can also post the stone on your blog, or facebook or on twitter using the #aros hashtag.

A small stone is a short piece of observational writing – simply pay attention to something properly and then write it down. Find out more about small stones here.

This is their request, in their words:

If you’re willing to help, we’d love you to do two things:

1) Re-post this blog on your own blog any time before June the 18th and give your readers a chance to hear about what we’re doing. You can simply copy and paste the text, or you can find the html here.

2) Write us a small stone on our wedding day whilst we’re saying our vows and eating cake, post it on your blog, and send it to us.

You can find out more about our project at our website, Wedding Small Stones, and you can also read our blog at A River of Stones.

We also have a July challenge coming soon, when we’ll be challenging you to notice one thing every day during July and write it down.

Thank you for listening, and we hope we’ll be returning from our honeymoon to an inbox crammed with small stones, including yours.

Kaspa and Fiona
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Stone #49

turned a corner to a spotlight pressed the voice memo and spoke of the startling light white in the close sky for blocks moon talking
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Stone #48

Fantasy matters.


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Stone #47

Without memory, the fragile present disappears.

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Stone #46

The wrist that caught my fall on the dark iced road, thin as a swan's neck, a bent wing fading into fingertips.
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Stone #45

A note that keeps resounding without being able to develop, I am Blanchot's Ostinato tonight.
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The Dancer's Backskin


The Dancer's Backskin, 2011, 21cm x 29cm, 8"x11.5"
ink, watercolour on Moleskin notebook paper.
click for larger size

the dancer's backskin,
Moleskine sketchbook

the paper
cracked
like a boiled
eggshell
when you
tap it
tap it

_


The drawing was an accident - I had bought a new Moleskine notebook, the largest ever for me. When I brushed water over watercolour pencil the paper shredded badly and cracked like an eggshell when dry. Intrigued with the effect, and having seen Natalie Portman's incredible performance in Black Swan, the self-mutilation, the hallucinations, the madnesses, I thought of the underside of the dancer's life. Or her backskin.

In the image you see here, I layered a scan of the frontside of the drawing facing forwards (you can see it in the lines at the borders) under the backside which I made slightly opaque. I banded the dancer's face (some horror there, she is buried alive in her inhuman effort to be graceful for us), and her feet (to remind us of ballet as an echo of Geisha footbinding).


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Stone #44

Powdery snow like a plush carpet under the thick rubber treads of my hiking boots. Patches of hidden skidding ice wake me from revery.
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Stone #43

Grass lays uncombed
like dirty green hair.

A lattice of frozen white water
frames tufts in a lacework of ice.
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Stone #42

A tired day, my book of ink words, images, obscure, inert, until I open the crisper drawer in the fridge, two papery onions.
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Stone #41

Under the melting snow an accumulation of banalities, cigarette butts, plastic wrappers, sodden cardboard.
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Stone #40

The black pupil of your eye hides a hall of flames burning darkly.
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Stone #39

A comet crashes into html. Lunar dust oxidizes. A pion prevents a war. Lactic acid fossilizes a Boeing wing in-flight.
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Stone #38

The path is disguised in the hologram of the cityscape. Where does it begin in the volumetric display, how do I follow it? Yet I must.
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Stone #37

moss, ice rock, spore-green papillae, the invisible sun in the darkness
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Stone #36

Phone home. You left a message for yourself. Listen; hang up. Try again. What is your message? Should you save or erase yourself?
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Stone #35

Follow the green fire that's in your life and in mine. Billow. Float through green streams of smoke. Remember to look under the burning leaf.
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Stone #34

On this cold, windy day the trees,
their bare branches stick brooms
sweeping clouds across the sky.
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Stone #33

In the park, a man, coiled dreads, Tai Chi, a thick, slow snowfall, festive card kind, layering whitely anything upperside to the sky.
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Stone #32

the milky sun shines gloss gold in the slush mud puddle in the pot hole of the street even if it doesn't in the sky
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A Page for AROS at my Blogspot Blog with its Own RSS Feed

It's taken a morning of searching, but I now have a working page for aros, A River of Stones, my mini 140 character pebbles, and an RSS feed to that page (which is a label page):

http://brendaclews.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default/-/aros

You can find the label page for aros at the top of this page (or any page on my site, it's so cool).

Note: I was only able to find this feed, and subscribe to it in Google Reader through the orange browser feed button on your browser bar.

Also I was able to get Facebook to recognize and import the url of the feed into my Notes.


These two great articles by GXG tell you exactly how to do it:

Tranform a Blogger Label into a Page.

How to Add Label-Specific Feeds to Blogger



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Stone #31

Anansi took the heat and put it in a pot and hung it in the silk cotton tree. That's why we have winter storms, I am sure of it.


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Stone #30

A lit, white, outdoor patio curtain billows, and I, videotaping it, frighten the owner in my black hooded coat and huge Sorrel boots. The night blasts.
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Stone #29: Opposite Women Who Are The Same

Spring generates below the frozen ground. The green, the brown rising. Darkly.


_
The stone, drawn from the stream-of-consciousness writing in the drawing.

In the endless greys, browns, taupes and whites of winter, I seem to be deeply missing the green! My subconscious offering compensatory imagery - or that's what it seems. Buried in masses of green.

While working on this drawing, I spilt half a bottle of olive green India ink, a colour that I had mixed from a sepia and a bright green, onto my La Cache tablecloth (the store no longer exists). That was a disaster. India ink is extremely permanent. Did I get it rinsed before doomsday in green? About 10 separate squirts of dish soap and rinses and me scrubbing with my hands. Finally I put it in a bucket with laundry detergent to soak.

Green floods my life.

I would say there is a black and a white sister here. They are a study in contrasts. Two very different lives and takes on life. Yet they are the same woman.

The drawing is overdone, I think. I began by using some pens that contain archival ink but work like markers and discovered that I don't really like them. At least now I know I prefer the more unsure and difficult ways ink flows from the nibs of fountain pens or dip pens. So much of what happens when it doesn't begin quite right is that you spend a lot of time 'saving' the work - a process that is sometimes successful, sometimes not. I added eggshell-coloured framing digitally. I like the close-up in the last scan.

_
Dark Women, 2011, 20cm x 28cm, 8" x 11", India inks with dip pen and various fountain pen inks.

Scrawled, embedded words:
Who are we in our shadows? Explore a darker terrain. Welcome complexity, seething underbed where spring is already generating below the frozen ground, snow-filled land of ice. The green, the brown rising. Darkly. Look at the half-seen and explore the invisible. Does mystery make us apprehensive? Go deeper. Plunge.

Wrote the words that are embedded in the drawing next to it so that I would remember what they were. Yes, could be edited down, but later. The eggshell framing lines are drawn digitally.




I like the detail, click on it - it looks better larger.
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Stone #28

...when the light casts two shadows, and you hear footsteps within footsteps, and you realize you're following yourself...
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Stone #27

the draft you deleted | remains an absence | in the final version || deleted images | indelible absences | in what remains

or:

the draft you deleted
remains an absence
in the final version

deleted images
indelible absences
in what remains
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Stone #26

One rich, round, ripe Sardinian olive. Green, stuffed with pimento, steeped and plucked from a pot of salt, garlic and oil. Redolent.
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Stone #25

sky, a grey wall of light against which trees are sculpted, fills, halftone, chiaroscuro, then the crumbling darkness
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Stone #24

snow gloss white Carrara marble word waves in vein fizzures quarry cracks flattened snowdrop the deadly chiselled delusions bootstomp

or

snow gloss  white  Carrara marble  word waves  in vein fizzures  quarry cracks  flattened snowdrop  the deadly chiselled delusions  bootstomp

or

snow gloss
white
Carrara marble

word waves
in vein fizzures
quarry cracks

flattened snowdrops

the deadly chiselled delusions
bootstomp

bootstomp

(a shiny field of iced snow)
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Stone #23

To lie down, pull the sheaves of powdered words over me, a bleached sheet of snow in the sun.
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Stone #22

Snow the quality of white weightless rocksalt falls. The ground silts with sifted snow, around the strewn rocksalt are meltspots.
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Stone #21

With a wind chill of -21°c, I think the Westerly wind is angry and howling cold words against our cheeks, our bodies.
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Stone #20

A path of fallen, frozen red Maple leaves slowly slides and eddies before me like a stellar star cluster, while I remain still.
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Stone #19

Like a La Scala, the old one in Milan, I spend a sleepless night reviewing repertoires, operas, songs, stories, but it's inconclusive.

-
A River
of Stones
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Stone #18

the thickest boughs, heavy with Titanium white spread with a fat brush - no paint falling out of the sky at the moment
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Stone #17: The Sun Falls Before Dark


'The Sun Falls Before Dark,' 17.8cmx 23.9cm, 7" x 9", India ink, pencil, archival paper.

...the sun falls before dark,
folds of grace.

(written in the bridge: 'walls, walls, walls, indecision, indecision'; in back of bridge, 'dirt, dirt'; on the grass, 'grass, grass.' etc.)


'The Sun Falls Before Dark,' the barebones sketch, 17.8cmx 23.9cm, 7" x 9", archival ink, archival paper.

I drew it in near-dark without proper reading glasses with a Micron 05 pen that I've not used before. (The finished one up top was drawn in with India ink, and coloured with Castelli-Faber watercolour pencils.)

Who are they? what is happening?
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Stone #16

The train slices the Wedgewood blue and white,
a metal icicle.

Blowing snow dust glitters,
ghosts sweeping the windows.
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Stone #15

My wandering thoughts crumble in the reflections of a mirror placed between the snow landscape and white sky.

-
A River
of Stones
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Stone #14

At night I turn off the heat, crawl under a heated blanket. The room air is grey at dawn, the cat, dog and I, shivering, cold, a power failure.

-
A River
of Stones
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Stone #13

...the wind whispers ice, waves of snow blow, a few streaks of fragile light. These old lovers, a poetics of winter.

-
A River
of Stones
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Stone #12

the chunks of snow that fly off needles, like bits of coconut meat flying from whitened fir trees in a northern oasis

-
A River
of Stones
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Stone #11

scooped white dragon fruit, grated and tossed, swirling the night wind, and the black seeds, invisible, smacking my face, coat, hands

_
A River
of Stones


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Stone #10

the green wing of an angel, olive lines cross-hatching into branches, the slush of salted sidewalks

_



[the image came first]

A River
of Stones


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Stone #9





...it was a dawn of phosphorescent algae, coming in from the ocean, drifting overland,


a green sun
hung in icicles.




_
[I wrote the image early morning, and late at night, during a frigid -16C wind chill dog walk, took this photo with my iPhone - it's photoshopped, and I'll show the original in another post- but how strange... is floating green phosphorescence a presence... in my images, and photos...? I do like how the photo turned out but couldn't tell you what I did to create it in the shades you see here.]



A River
of Stones

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Stone #8

like white fruit drifting from the sky, like a swirl of cold blossoms that hide patches of hardened blackberry ice

_
[some of the crystals of snow falling were huge, clumped together, like chunks of coconut, reminding me of falling white fruit, and the second image of a swirl of cold blossoms should have come first, blossoms before fruit, but that's not how the image composed itself and I had no energy to resist with insistence on some modicum of poetic logic - but I had already fallen in love with the image 'blackberry snow' -no idea where it came from- how freshly falling billowy snow tastes to my synaesthetic seeing... later in the day I was able to re-assert some poetic order to the image and called it properly 'blackberry ice' referring to the black ice on which we can slip, skid, fall, tumble...

the image sounds like a fancy fruity cocktail? I wish...]

A River
of Stones


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Stone #7

A bath lit by flame. Candles whisper at the edges of the water. And a singer whose song arises from the caves of the earth rising up through the steam.

_
[A host of candles. Tealights placed around the edge of the bath. Lisa Gerrard's The Silver Tree (scroll down to find it).]

A River
of Stones


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Stone #6

A man as wide as he is tall throws birdseed. His old Jack Russell watches. Twelve rock doves peck like feathery iridescent ocean waves.

(Actually, I think I can remove the second sentence to make a better image:

A man as wide as he is tall throws birdseed. Twelve rock doves peck like feathery iridescent ocean waves.

But I leave the Jack Russell in since this distills moments in my life - I see these two nearly every day out my window, sometimes I chat with the man. And one day I will read this post, and remember them. So the image is for my own keepsake. One of the stones in my silk pouch of poetry and memory.)
_

A River
of Stones




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Stone #5

A sealed envelope, my nephew's present from his uncle, unexpectedly falls out from behind a bookcase. l hold it, notice the moment.
_

A River
of Stones




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Stone #4: A Rock Dove

Clap of wings, a ledge. Street grey, pin black eyes- the pavement where I walk, or the fleeing sky, or a flock pecking bagel bits.

(I balk at putting the word 'watch' in, and hope you, the reader, can parse it anyhow.

Okay, putting it in:

Clap of wings, a ledge. Street grey, pin black eyes watch
the pavement where I walk, or the fleeing sky, or a flock pecking bagel bits.

Without it, the missing verb appears anyhow. You should leap from the ledge to the view. No, I don't have to say imaginatively, I don't. No, no.)
_

A River
of Stones



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Stone #3

The water of five great lakes rushes from the tap. My mug of sand, algal metal, dark minnow streaks.
_

A River
of Stones



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Stone #2

The ball in the faintly pink nail polish in which suspended red hearts lie looks like a Mayan Pok-A-Tok waiting to be hip-kicked.

-
A River
of Stones



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Stone #1

the intense whispering of the winter rain

-
A River
of Stones


Home   Different, yet Same   Soirée of Poetry   Videopoetry   Celestial Dancers   Photopoems   Birthdance   Bliss Queen   Bio   Life Drawings   Earth Rising   Creative Process   Recent Work   Links   Comments
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